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Thread: Home Depot return policy change without notification

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Apple Valley, CA
    Posts
    218

    Home Depot return policy change without notification

    Hello all,

    I had some small items left over from various things I've done around the house recently and decided to gather them up to take back to Home Depot. These items were purchased at various times over the past couple weeks and I of course misplaced my receipts. Meaning they got washed, tossed, used for scratch paper.. you know how it goes. I didn't think anything of it, as it's never been an issue- take things back, get a store credit, buy more crap I probably don't need.

    They rang me out, ran my ID and the return was declined. I was shocked- I do return a lot to HD, but most of the time it's with a receipt- things like, do I need #6x3/4" screws or #8x3/4"? Buy both, return the wrong size next time I go to HD. I return without a receipt every 3 or 4 months I would say, at most. I called the return verification company and they told me I didn't have any bad marks or excessive returns, Home Depot themselves have tightened up returns without a receipt and if I have a problem with that, I need to contact HD in writing and wait 4-6 weeks for a response. No, says I, that just won't do.

    I go back in to the returns desk and ask for a number for corporate. The checker goes and confers with someone in the customer service pen and comes back, asks me to step to the side and wait for a store manager. She comes up and I tell her the story I was just told. She says that's nonsense, it has to be me making too many returns and asks for the return denial receipt. I give it to her and wait as she calls the number herself in front of me. They tell her the exact same thing. Incredulous, she tries to tell me it's my return record. I ask her if they said that to her, ir if they said it was a HD corporate change. Reluctantly, she backpedals and says they told her it was corporate, but anyway, she would do an override and accept the return- this time. I thanked her and waited for her to get it done. To occupy my time, I looked up the number and called corporate customer service on my cell while I waited.

    By now, the manager was still having some type of issue with the return, so she disappeared and another woman, who I assume may have been a district manager who happened to be at the store, comes to carry on where the other manager left off. I finally get through to CS on the phone, who tells me that yes, they have recently made changes to their returns policy through the verification system. I thank him for the information and go back to the new woman helping me, who has now run the return 3 times with no luck. She says "we'll have to go above manager" and digs into her ID pocket to get out another folded up piece of paper with other higher up pass codes. She gets the return done, give me my store credit and I tell her what corporate just told me. She's noticeably perturbed, apologizes and tells me nothing at all has come down the pipeline to them in the stores on this change. We discuss how this is going to mean managers getting to deal with ticked off customers a lot more now, and I go on my way.

    So, in short, Home Depot has unofficially changed their return policy for items paid with a gift card or store credit, as well as any cash based purchases without a receipt. The CS rep from corporate explained to me that gift cards, store credit and cash are all processed the same, and not recorded for tracking in the system- there's no way to look up purchases with any of those payment methods. So basically, now HD will only easily accept returns without receipt on purchases they can search for in the system, made with credit, debit or check payments.


    I tell ya, that was the hardest fought $30 worth of gang boxes, conduit terminations and sundry items I've ever returned. It was all small stuff- the most expensive item was a $8 quick release 1/4" quarter turn plastic valve I ended up not needing when installing a water filter system.

    -Michael
    Last edited by Michael Arruda; 09-10-2015 at 1:49 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    black river falls wisconsin
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    766
    Home Depot in my area not even sell 1/4" oak veneer ply anymore.....

  3. #3
    I went through the same sort of ordeal recently. The store manager finally got the return done, but it took over an hour.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    'over here' - Ireland
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    2,532
    I guess maybe you guys in the US are used to free and easy returns policies, and regard it as a right. We can usually return or exchange something we don't want here for a short period, but not a hope without a receipt and intact packaging - and it's ultimately down to shop policy. It's not routine. Refunds and exchanges are only mandated by law in the case of defective goods.

    The underlying assumption is that it's a contract law matter. When you purchase something you technically enter into a contract with the shop that you will buy at a price if they will supply. Once they meet their part in that arrangement then their responsibility ends. Defective goods mean that they have not, which is presumably why returns are only legally required in that case. i.e. the presumption is that you knew your own mind in deciding to enter into the contract.

    It's in practical terms a big ask that a shop take back especially small goods - by the time they get over issues to do with the risk of damage to packaging or the product and putting it on shelves and into inventory again it's probably cost more than the item is worth. Especially if a pile of mixed stuff is plonked on the counter, and a stack of receipts has to be ploughed through to process it...
    Last edited by ian maybury; 09-10-2015 at 7:35 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    SW Virginia
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    97
    Quote Originally Posted by ian maybury View Post
    I guess maybe you guys in the US are used to free and easy returns policies, and regard it as a right. We can usually return or exchange something we don't want here for a short period, but not a hope without a receipt and it's ultimately down to shop policy. It's not routine. Refunds and exchanges are only mandated by law in the case of defective goods. The underlying assumption is that it's a contract law matter. When you purchase something you technically enter into a contract with the shop that you will buy at a price if they will supply. Once they meet their part in that arrangement then their responsibility ends. Defective goods mean that they have not, which is presumably why returns are only legally required in that case. i.e. the presumption is that you know your own mind in entering into the contract.It's in practical terms a big ask that a shop take back especially small goods - by the time they get over issues to do with the risk of damage to packaging or the product and putting it on shelves and into inventory again it's probably cost more than the item is worth. Especially if a pile of mixed stuff is plonked on the counter, and a stack of receipts has to be ploughed through to process it...
    Good points. It seems inconsiderate of the store to make them go through that whole process, just for my convenience. Don't get me wrong, I do take things back, but only when I make a mistake or buy a bad item. I don't PLAN from the beginning to return items.
    Profanity is the futile effort of a feeble mind, to exert itself forcefully.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    N.E, Ohio
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    2,749
    I too will buy two different items for the same job because I am not sure which will work for the situation. I guess I may start getting stuck with stuff. Now Lowes on the other hand has a sign that says "Hassle free returns." Maybe they will start hassling on returns.
    George

    Making sawdust regularly, occasionally a project is completed.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    SoCal
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    19,709
    What!?! Changes made around a conference table somewhere in the sky and the word not getting effectively passed down to those who have to stand blue-eyes to brown-eyes with the consumer???
    .
    .
    .
    Unheard of .
    I am familiar with modern idioms but they are outside the vocabulary of what I want to say.

    - George Dyson (composer)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    SE PA, Central Bucks County
    Posts
    235
    No they haven't. I frequently return items without a receipt and give them the credit card I used, and it's not a problem. Cash? Maybe that would be an issue but they've, for years, tracked returns without receipts and without a matching credit card and have tracked it by driver's license number. Only once did they question me about too many returns without a receipt (and no matching credit card), but they still did the return. Maybe it's your store? HD still has a very liberal return policy.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    NW Indiana
    Posts
    2,363
    This is an interesting post and I can see both sides of it. It is costly for a store to process and restock items. If one I s constantly buying things knowing that they will return one of them then I think it is a bit too much. I have read and heard people bragging that they bought a tool, used it and then took it back for a refund.

    A store needs to have a clearly stated policy and follow through with it. Where does the store draw the line...unopened boxes, unused tools, or what. We need to remember that we all share the cost of returns in t h at the store works that cost into the prices. Should I pay for someone who constantly returns items?

  10. #10
    My father is the same type of shopper. Buy extra, and return what you don't use. I don't like keeping track of all that paperwork or buying extra, but to each his own.
    Just a tip if you're that type of shopper. If you have a smart phone, it may be a good idea to make a folder called HD receipts in your picture gallery. Take a picture of EVERY HD receipt and store it in the said folder. It will take less than 5 seconds. If/when you lose the receipt, You can scroll through your pictures to find all the info on the receipt that the store needs to process the return and save both yourself and employees any hassles.

  11. #11
    I wish HD/Lowes would be a bit more restrictive on their return policy. I'm tired of buying something only to find out that it was clearly a return and is broken or missing something important.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Lexington, Oh
    Posts
    509
    Can't imagine trying to return something that I don't have the purchase receipt for. Know you are gonna return it... keep the receipt!!! Seems simple enough to me.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Flower mound, Tx
    Posts
    494
    Like everything in life, we live by rules that were made for people who can't or won't do the right thing. There are many many people who don't think twice about using a tool or a part for a single job then returning it. Recently I was in someone's house looking at a tile job in progress. The owner of the house went to Costco and purchased two very nice fans to exhaust all the dust from the tile remove. He told me that when the job was done he was going to return the fans. He was almost giddy saying... "Costco takes back everything".
    My wife works in clothing retail. You wouldn't believe how many girls/women buy a dress and/or shoes for a single event knowing they will return them.
    So, while its easy to get frustrated at Home Depot or any other store, just remember they are just trying to stem the millions and millions in losses from the minority of abusers.
    Who likes going through airport security? The frustration and huge inconvenience can be thanked to the tiny fraction of people who are bad

  14. #14
    As an experiment try this. If you have Quik Trip Gas stations that is. Go get a hot dog bun fill it with onions mustard sauerkraut onion bits relish and basically make a hot dog bun salad and go to the counter and ask how much. If you don't hear free every single time I slit my throat. They realize so few people abuse the system that its worth it to actively help the people and when they turn their life around they will have special loyalty to QT. (Former RA Manager.)

    The only reason there are stupid rules like that is the bad apples that spoil the whole bunch. The home depot in your area could be a test site for new rules and to see if its more profitable to pull out the whole roll of red tape. shake you down for a 30$ return.
    Just like they try new laws on the new England area and that norm Abrams area.

    Don't be offended its probably more localized than you think. Also may have to do with personal opinions.

    For example if the manager was someone that you picked on in middle school and you did not recognize the person any more. Or perhaps some hateful person of another race that dislikes your people was having a little power trip... List goes on.


    Retail shrinkage is defined as a reduction in inventory due to shoplifting, employee theft, paperwork errors and supplier fraud. These contributing factors increase exponentially when your place of business happens to be in a high risk area. What is a high risk area? Depending on where you live it may simply be a popular mall or busy part of town with enough foot traffic that a would-be shoplifter can easily blend in. More often it is a store located in a somewhat undesirable part of town; some place where the socio-economic status of the surrounding community lends itself to an increased crime rate. from "http://www.retailloss.net/retail-shrinkage-in-high-risk-areas-atlanta.html"

    I found this article blaming the booster (someone that buys stolen stuff and resells I presume)
    Last edited by tom suica; 09-10-2015 at 11:26 AM.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    1,495
    Tip: sign up to have your receipts emailed to you. I assume this is an option for everybody, but here in Seattle, you can do an email receipt.

    For credit card purchases, it remembers my email address and the prompter asks me if I want my receipt emailed to me. For cash purchases, I assume you have to re-type your email address each time, but if you're worried about the above scenario, this is the only way to go. Or just keep your receipt. Or just us a credit card (i personally go this route since I want the airline miles and I don't like to carry cash).

    Good to know though!

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